Page B1.1 . 30 October 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - Building Department
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Basics - Clay Tile Roofing

by Steven Winter Associates

Tile roofing accommodates various building traditions and climatic conditions, and it now accounts for over eight percent of the residential steep-slope roofing market in the United States for new construction and about three percent for reroofing. And in much of the world, earthy, fire-safe, long-lasting tile is the dominant roofing material.

Concrete tile, used mostly in the southeast, the southwest, and California, now dominates the tile roofing market due primarily to its lower cost. Concrete tile does not have to be baked in a kiln as does clay tile, and the materials for production are more readily available.

Fiber-cement and composite shingles are also gaining acceptance because of their lighter weight and lower cost, although some manufacturers have not found these products profitable and have discontinued them.

Roofing tile is differentiated by its shape and composition. Other important characteristics are breaking strength, absorption or porosity, resistance to freeze-thaw cycles, joining methods, and installation details.

Clay and concrete roofing tiles are generally available in two shapes: profile and flat. Profile tile can be further divided into pan and cover, S-tile, and interlocking. Flat tile can be subdivided into interlocking and noninterlocking. Interlocking is preferred in areas with heavy rains and snow because it is inherently a more weather-tight system.

The porosity of roof tiles is very important in climates with a repetitive freeze-thaw cycle. The more porous a roof tile is, the more water it will absorb. Water that freezes in a roof tile can cause the material to spall or crack.   >>>

This article is excerpted from Home Rehab Handbook by Steven Winter Associates, Michael J. Crosbie, editor, with permission of the publisher, McGraw-Hill Professional.



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The tile roofs of Dubrovnik, Croatia, much the same as they've appeared for centuries.
Photo: Steven Allan

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Profile and flat tiles.
Image: Steven Winter Associates


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